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Xbox finally explains the truth behind dreaded Red Ring Of Death

Xbox finally explains the truth behind dreaded Red Ring Of Death


The Red Ring Of Death is a name that strikes terror into the hearts of gamers everywhere. It is the harbinger of ruined weekends, cancelled adventures, and needlessly convoluted repairs.

For those that don't know, the Red Ring Of Death was a curse that afflicted early Xbox 360 units. It was a serious hardware failure that impacted a huge number of systems before the eventual introduction of a slim model.

The assumption was always that the Red Ring Of Death was an overheating issue caused by the system’s poor thermals. However, the fascinating documentary Power On: The Story of Xbox, reveals the truth behind the infamous hardware error.

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Leo Del Castillo, a member of Xbox’s hardware engineering at the time, explained that the Red Ring Of Death was caused by connectors inside the components of the console breaking. It turns out the reason the components were breaking in the first place was actually a thermal issue, but high temperatures inside the console was never the problem in and of itself.

Todd Holmdahl, Xbox’s head of hardware from 1999 to 2014, revealed the real problem was the console’s temperature going from hot to cold too frequently“

All these people loved playing video games, so they would turn this thing on and then off, and when it would turn on and off, you get all sorts of stresses” he explained.

At the time Xbox obviously had no other choice but to allow customers to send in affected consoles for repair, free of charge. This came at massive cost to the company, obviously.

Peter Moore, the former head of Xbox, said: "By the time we looked at the cost of repairs, the lost sales that we factored in, we had a $1.15 billion dollar problem.” Thankfully, the former CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, was able to provide enough funds to bail them out, and essentially save Xbox.

The Red Ring of Death episode is one of six parts of the Story of Xbox series, and you can catch the whole thing on YouTube now. It's a properly fascinating watch, so do check it out.

Featured Image Credit: Microsoft

Topics: Xbox, Microsoft